The Shit Detail

Max was a private—not first class—he was as low as it gets. He had pulled latrine duty several weeks in a row—the shit-end of the stick, so to speak, and he had it so often, soldiers in our battalion thought it was his job. Max was getting suspicious that the men in our company were tricking him, but he couldn’t figure-out how. He kept pulling latrine duty—the shortest stick.

Max told me his story, and now I’m telling you.

Usually, the shit is mixed with diesel oil and burned.

Max got that detail—and several others. He was a detail man. The officers didn’t do their business in the plywood outhouses. They built one of concrete with porcelain toilets. Much was accomplished there.

We were in the desert, so there was no actual plumbing. Somebody dug a hole with a loader, and when it was full, it got covered-up, just like how a dog does it.

If anybody walked on-top of that spot, there was the possibility of quick-sand—so it got marked off, until it dried.

That didn’t take long, because it was at least 120 degrees in the shade.

This was during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and a good part of that situation was sitting on the toilet. Most soldiers read the newspaper or a dirty magazine—they were really dirty after a month, and then, the next issue—government issue. We loved our commanding officers.

Max was Mexican, so the stereotype fit. I was white, so my privilege was to check-in on his mental status, and the rest of our troops.

“How many times do you play with yourself a day?”

“Three times.”

“Good.”

When somebody was abstaining, I started to worry, unless they belonged to one of the Abrahamic religions.

Give a guy a loaded gun and tell him not to kill the enemy—and it’s going to go off at the wrong time.

Well…everybody knew our officers in charge were full of shit, and most of us worried that we would have to be the one to clean it up.

Max drew the short-end again, so he walked into the bowels of our septic system. It was built just like a swimming pool, except, you didn’t want to fall in.

We dynamited, to cover the hole, but we couldn’t use a traditional fuse—methane gas, you see.

Max told me he placed three evenly-spaced charges and next to the fourth, he spotted an anti-chamber.

He broke through the crusty sand and discovered a stone coffin. He broke into that with his tactical tomahawk and found a mummy. Max wasn’t the brightest, but he thought twice before destroying an archeological find. The mummy wrap, looked just like toilet paper—two ply. His curiosity got the better of him and he unwrapped a couple pieces.

What he found, was nothing. There wasn’t even a body. Not a skeleton, with skin as tight as a drum. It didn’t make sense. What was the mold underneath? Was it similar to paper mâché, where the wrap dries around empty air?

He pocketed a few pieces and went back to the surface, to see what it looked like in the sun. But when he pulled the paper from his pockets, he couldn’t see it or his hands. They looked as if they were amputated at the wrists. Needless to say, I got a hysterical phone call. He was one of those guys, not of an Abrahamic religion—a lapsed Catholic, I think, and he was abstaining, so I was worried.

The last thing I wanted, was a soldier under my psych evaluation—killing half-a-dozen troops on my watch, or masturbating in public.

To be continued…

Hunger

Training

is about Targets

and Execution

is about something else

Entirely.

I watched a dad and his son on the golf course today.

“You took a big divot—go ahead and put it back,” the dad said.

The shot went nowhere.

On the next hole, was me, forecasting what would happen, perfectly

I can see a loser, from a mile away

I can see myself, driven mad with hunger

trying to figure-out, what I should do about it

before I starve to death.

Recently, I indulged my appetite with junk food

because that’s all there was

which leads to a spiritual death

that keeps me alive, but never allows me to feel full.

Ambition, can make me insane with desire

until I think I am better than I actually am

and I want something

that isn’t even close

to what the work is.

There was no ambition shared between father and son, just bonding

and the catch-all phrase, “You’ll get it the next time.”

It could be that I spent the last two days thinking about things

that have nothing to do with reality.

I watched a particularly annoying coworker, walk down the street with her daughter today.

What she wants, is simple, and she gets it—

advancement, her husband, her daughter, and an explanation for her existence.

Relationships matter

but they’re not the only thing

and most people never find it—

If they do, they give up

on it

for what

somebody else wants:

a house, a job, a relationship.

Maybe, we don’t have to choose

but the longer I go without it

the more clearly, I realize

I do.

If I choose it

over and over again

I wait to see if it becomes my friend

loyalty, doesn’t matter, to the thing

unless it chooses me.

I pray

that the sun

smiles on me.

At this time in my life

I am willing to burn ships

relationships

before the sun sets

and when it does

I will be alone

in the dark

before I go to sleep

forever

and I ask that last question:

Was it worth it?

Expressive Wolf

“That’s enough—you’ve sterilized the wound.”

“What do you do for a living?” She asked.

Oh, here we go, Harold thought—the fatal question. “I’m unemployed.”

Her nose looked like there was poop under it. “Oh—sorry.”

Harold knew women were looking for security, so he never told them he had more money than Croesus. He limped out of her house, with the distinct impression that he had escape a dangerous beast. She was being supported by somebody—probably an ex-husband.

When he crossed the street, he began convulsing—not a full-blown seizure, but one that anybody could get at a Justin Bieber concert.

“You okay—son?” Came a voice. It was Harold’s next-door neighbor—retired from the assembly line at the Ford plant. He was smoking cigarettes and wearing a cowboy hat. Not a bad guy, if you didn’t mind bad breath.

“I’m fine. I just got bit by the neighbor’s dog.”

“Oh—you know what we used to do to them in Montana?”

“No—” Harold said.

“We gave ’em a lead pill with their breakfast.” He pulled out his six-gun. It was a colt peacemaker—he thumbed the wheel.

“That’s very practical,” Harold said. “I’m going to go laydown on the couch now.” He walked inside and curled-up on the leather lazy-boy like a dog. Three hours later, after the sun had gone down, he woke up to a shredded couch and a destroyed living room. He had been sleep-walking. The mirror wasn’t broken, though—and he looked inside, and saw the beast within.

“Oh—my god. I’m grandpa’s grandson.” Harold looked out the window. There was that bitch from the afternoon. She was bigger now, in all the right places. Harold walked outside, as if, in a trace, underneath the moonlight.

His flower garden was a romantic backdrop. He tried to speak to her, but it came out like a whimper. He had been waiting for her, his whole life. Then he jumped on her and rolled around in the grass.

Until… “What the holy hell!”

BANG. BANG. BANG.

It was Harold’s neighbor. The cowboy was being a cowboy, and Harold felt the wounds, but they quickly healed.

Harold was being Harold when he tore the cowboy’s limbs from his body, and his girlfriend, feasted on him in the moonlight.

The cowboy should’ve used silver bullets, but most people don’t know that, unless they watch movies—and if they do, they’re never prepared.

Harold howled at the moon, and his girlfriend did the same.

The End

Bitten By a Bitch

There was ringing in Harold’s ears—

His grandpa died in prison and not from old age. Some black guys tried to jump him in the shower and he ripped-out three of their throats with his teeth, before the fourth jammed a shank into his liver. The strange thing was, it didn’t kill him and his flesh grew back. It took four more of them to hold his body underwater, while giving the shank, until he was a drown dog.

That’s what the autopsy report said, “died from drowning.” It neglected, the twenty or so holes that healed before he was suffocated.

Harold switched to thinking about online dating…

“I tried it five years ago without success,” he mumbled. “Girls get hundreds of messages a day from hungry boys who never leave their basements. It’s not a good way to meet women.”

No—he was content to predict what he could control. There are prefect bandits who steal $100 and there are bandits who murder and steal $100. Then there are intelligent speculators who always make money, but never at the expense of others. There are fools who lose money and cause others to lose money. Lastly, there are helpless schmucks. Harold felt like a schmuck in the dating game. A reasonable strategy, didn’t work with 95% of the online women—who stole your time and promised dates that never happened. There was no consequence for them, so they just kept doing it. It’s like the government printing money and giving it away. It hurts everyone, but they claim it’s the humanitarian thing to do. Girls send messages to guys like inflated money that doesn’t mean anything. They do it for humanitarian reasons… It boiled Harold from the inside.

No—he was keeping away from all people. That way, his time was never wasted. He watched them, talking about nothing. They went out of their way to talk to him, in public… even when, he left the house saying, “I’m never going to talk to anybody again.” This was a comfort and a challenge for him. Many people are lonely, but they never stop to consider, that if they go out, somebody will talk to them, whether they want it, or not. If you want people to talk to you—you will be disappointed. If you don’t want people to talk to you—you will be disappointed. Disappointment, is the rule.

Harold walked up the steps to his house. A blond in a sports bra jogged by. He didn’t even look—okay, maybe he looked, but without any hope. She had on these yoga pants, that revealed more, than if she was running in the nude. She was being pulled by a Huskey-wolf. Harold guessed it was a female. She jogged across the street and went inside. Harold also went inside, but realized, the wall street journal was missing. He still got a newspaper and when he went to the box, it was gone. Then he saw it—in the Husky-wolf’s mouth.

“Give it here! Bitch!” Harold yelled.

And she dropped it, with a smile on her face. Then she rushed him and bit him on the leg.

“Ah! Murder!” He yelled.

The girl in the sports bra came out. “Oh—I’m so sorry!”

Harold looked at her. Was she the one?” No. Just because a girl is hot, doesn’t make her the one. She has to be interesting too.

“Let me put some peroxide on your wound.”

“Okay,” Harold said. He knew it was her way to avoid a lawsuit. And it didn’t matter. Harold was feeling better after the bite, than before it, for some reason.

To be continued… 

Nirvana, from the Inside

It’s been four days

since I left my apartment

and my biggest concern

has been my dwindling toilet paper roll.

There are several benefits

to this economy:

1. No threat of toilet plugging

2. Eating less, so I am less full of shit

3. Writing more, to take advantage of the situation

I feel like Thoreau.

Still, I am gearing-up for writing season

This is going to be a wild summer.

Writing the great American novel is every poet’s dream.

My problem is that I don’t like society very much,

so it’s hard to calibrate their conversations and attitudes.

I prefer solitude,

golfing,

and the library

and my ambition is to be a writer, which doesn’t leave much time for living.

My setting is a suburban backdrop

I could write about professionals who have conversations about retirement

and who eventually reach the promised land at the local country club.

It would be depressing

although, I could do something like drop an atomic bomb nearby

to liven up the situation—there is nothing like the fear of death to force people to live better

But I’ll probably just work myself up into an intellectual mania,

watch a few documentaries on how to write a murder mystery,

and then plan the most intricate convoluted plots

that cause most of my readers to stop reading

except for

the most intelligent

who have nothing else to do.

Yes—this summer is going to be lots of fun.

I’m going to play golf while reading philosophy

and I’ll listen to the conversations on the course

I’ll eat Thai Food

and Pizza

while losing weight.

My body will be hard

and I’ll feel just like James Bond.

Possibly, that girl who has been ignoring me

will call.

Then I’ll really get down to business

but until then

I’m in heaven

drinking espresso

and enjoying myself.

Grandpa’s Sexual Stories

“How can that be?”

“When I was a late teenager—say, 19, I think—I was bitten by a woman, a very sexy woman.”

“Grandpa—this isn’t going to be one of your sexual stories, is it?”

“Just listen—she bit me on the neck and left a mark—then she kissed it. Man, I had the hots for her—no woman had ever done that before. It wasn’t until a week later, that I knew I was in trouble. My muscles were cramping and growing, giving me strange strength. In the high school gym, I lifted all the weight on the squat. On our following date, there was more aroused in me, than just the male organ.”

“Grandpa.”

“Wait—you’re going to want to hear this. That night, it was a full moon, and I asked her to marry me on the dock of silver lake. It gets the name when the moon fits perfectly into the water, like a crystal ball, and your fortune is told there. I started to sprout hair all over my body, and so did she. We became animals, underneath the moonlight, and wrestled in the grass, and…”

“Grandpa.”

“Okay—I’ll spare you the details. Your mother was conceived that night, and I learned something about myself, that I never knew before. I was a werewolf, but a recessive one, until I met the love of my life. She knew her body was different, earlier than I did. At camp, when she got her first period, she too, had enormous strength. When she played capture the flag, she was twice as fast as the other girls. As the years wore on, and we had a family together, we worried about our children. What if we harmed them when we went wild during that time of the month? I got a vasectomy because we thought birth control was a good idea. It didn’t work. Man, when guys talk about crazy sex, there is nothing like doing it with a werewolf.”

“Grandpa.”

“The problem with our sex life was that one of us usually wound-up hurt. I would transform first, before she was fully wolf, and I would jump on her and…

“Grandpa.”

“Sorry. So, we built a chair that she strapped me to. Kind of like BDSM, but for protection. On the day your grandmother was murdered, I didn’t quite make it to the chair, and I killed her. It was the monster in me, but I loved her. What I can’t figure-out is that you haven’t met the one yet. Do you go out at night?”

“I prefer reading the classics.”

“You know what they say… early to bed and early to rise, makes a man health, wealthy, and can’t get laid.”

“Funny, I’ve never heard that before. Say—what’s happening to you in prison? Are you transforming?”

“No. The beast is there, but it can’t come out without true love. You won’t know who you really are, until you go for walks with your lover in the full moon. Is there anybody?”

“Well… I like my doctor, but I don’t have any animal urges for her—more like a polite interest. Plus, I’m worried about women. I don’t want one to strap me to a chair.”

“Yes—you do.”

“I stay away from women, grandpa—it’s the safest thing for me to do.”

He sighed with a downcast face. “You don’t know what you’re missing.”

“Look where a woman got you,” I said.

“That’s not fair.”

“Our time is up. I love you grandpa, even if you murdered grandma.”

The door buzzed, and he was gone.

To be continued…

Recessive Wolf

Harold was a bachelor. Some men are out, chasing tail, but he had long-since given up on that. He was content to make money in the stock market and play with his own socio-economic theories. Occasionally, the university wanted him to give a seminar, but he turned them down to play golf, if it was a sunny day. It was always sunny. His handicap was a 1. He cared too much about being a prophet to improve his golf game below a 1. It wasn’t that he promoted his predictions to news channels—it was that he enjoyed personal triumphs when he was right. It’s that feeling when you are drinking a glass of brandy and smoking a cigar while watching the races, and your horse comes in. It feels like you have the golden touch. The economy was no different than gambling at the track.

The government pumped horses full of steroids, wouldn’t let jockeys compete, and told patrons that gambling was an addiction, but everybody still went to the track. Idiots got into the stock market because somebody told them they should, and they always bought the popular stock, rather than thinking differently. In the early 90s, when lead was poisoning people and getting into the water supply, they dumped their stocks, but Harold held to his philosophy: go in the opposite direction of everybody, and he put his money into lead. It paid-off. Most recently, Harold was getting into coal, while the morons thought electricity was the future. People didn’t have a grasp on reality. They were full of ideals and screaming for justice, while having no concept of society. Harold didn’t take a side. He made money from both sides, like an arms dealer, supplying guns to either army because he wanted them both to lose.

But this story isn’t about that. It’s much older than Harold—ancient, in fact. It concerns bloodlines and destiny.

It has been said that the most important part of a man’s life is that he should understand what he is meant to do and do it.

Harold’s family had given up on him. His parents were old and in assisted living. His sister was living her life with a good man. Harold had nobody—and he preferred it that way, but if there was one thing that bothered him, it was that he had acquired wealth, but it only amounted to numbers in his bank account. There were things he enjoyed—like literature, collecting rare books, playing the piano, and spending time in his own mind, but he couldn’t share that with anyone.

Harold was getting cramps at night, once a month. It was like being a woman. He didn’t know why. Maybe this happens to a guy in his 40s, he wondered.

He kept getting it checked-out by his doctor. She was sexy. Harold liked a woman with class. She wore pearls on top of her fashionable clothes.

“Nope—you’re a strong virile male—no hormone imbalances that I can see,” she said while checking his charts. “Your blood is rare, though—so you’ll want to avoid any need for a transfusion. Can I put you down as a doner?”

“Why not,” Harold said.

He wondered if there was a guy in a gangland neighborhood who would get shot and his blood would save the man’s life. Strange, to have his blood flowing in another man’s veins.

One of Harold’s hobbies was to read the classics in his living room. His grandfather stared at him from a painting above the fireplace. His eyes were black—not quite human—animalistic, in fact. Harold liked his grandfather. He only met him a handful of times, when he wasn’t in captivity. He had an office, where he showed Harold about heredity and genetics and how genes can be recessive or expressive.

“You and I have more in common with each other than anybody in our family,” he told Harold.

There was a back room in the office where Harold was never allowed to go.

One day, his grandmother was viciously murdered by his grandfather—slashed to pieces, by a primitive weapon.

Harold considered what his grandfather said—that they were just like each other.

When Harold was old enough, he confronted his grandfather in prison.

“Did you murder your wife?” He asked

“It’s not that simple,” his grandfather said.

To be continued…

I’ve Liberated Another Man

I keep sending my stuff to feminist editors

not much choice

They all advertise that they want queer, questioning, feminist voices

to shout down the man.

There’s this one publication I submit to—well, submit is the wrong word

because I write whatever I want

and I can’t get published.

It’s a feminist leadership magazine and it has co-editors

a man and his wife

and he claims to be a male feminist.

What I like about him, is that he sent me a personal rejection slip

that said, “I really liked this, but it won’t fit into our magazine. Are you trying to get published here?”

The problem is, I can’t reply to emails—too many crazies (it’s a feminist magazine)

So, I am content to write another poem to continue our correspondence

My next cover letter asked if he is happily married or if his wife runs the show

“I am most happy with my wife being in charge, thank you very much—we need more feminist leaders.”

I wanted to ask him follow-up questions, but I couldn’t, so I had to write another poem. This might be crossing the line.

I understand that many men have to be taken care of by a woman, but this is such an emasculating experience

How do these men live with themselves?

My latest poem came back—

Let’s just call the male feminist Bob—a good generic name

He told me, he really wants to publish my poetry, but he can’t. His wife won’t let him.

He’s been answering my emails, secretly

and reading my poems at midnight

He’s been providing feedback (typically, full of praise)

Last week he told me that he’s having marital problems

Apparently, his wife found my poems on his computer, with our private correspondence

“It’s worse than pornography!” She shouted.

Look what I’ve done…

oh well—

I’ve liberated another man.

Dr. Halifax and His Love for Ice Cream

I went for drinks with my professor. He was interesting, in a boorish sort of way. His office was no bigger than a closet, and in his plywood cabinets, he had great books, stuffed, every which way, with notes, unceremoniously stuck between the gold pages.

He poured us ginger ales, mixed with hard liquor. If I was a female, I might’ve been tempted to think Dr. Halifax put something in my drink, due to his aura of perversion. One gets this way from too much female companionship or too little—I suspected Halifax had too little, but I didn’t want to make him self-conscious, so I didn’t say anything.

What Halifax had was an unarticulated desire—beyond the quest for knowledge. Most people who search for this, blow their brains out, but Halifax hadn’t yet and that’s what drew me to him. He had that twitch, like suicide could descend on him, at any moment, like Tourette’s, and he would see a frog, and say…

Well, no need to be profane.

“Dr. Halifax, why do you teach in a university?”

“To hear myself talk—why else?”

“Isn’t that a waste?”

“Yes. I’ve read more books than I care to read—and they all point to the same garbage that doesn’t explain the garbage.”

“Such as…?”

“That we are here for a reason. I can’t identify one, outside of the absurd.”

“And yet, there are men who do great things.”

“Yes—this is true—We call them outliers, but they’re still within the range of probabilities.”

“It’s impossible to remove yourself from statistics.”

“Not quite.” Halifax pulled out his gun. “I don’t do it because I like to eat ice cream.”

“Besides death—what would allow someone to stand on the outside?”

“To become, not quite human.”

“You mean, like a spiritual being.”

“No—more like a magician. The magician is a man, who transcends death.”

“How does he do that?”

“Through language—He writes his name into history and becomes immortal. Perhaps, immortality lies beyond words, but I haven’t figured that one out yet.”

“What is a man?”

“A mortal.”

“What is a woman?”

“A pain in the neck.”

“What would you do if you could live forever?”

“Eat more ice cream. I’m going to Baskin Robbins. We can continue our intellectual conversation over 31 flavors.”

“Maybe words cloud the simplicity of life,” I said.

“You’re wiser than you look.”

The End

His Honor, On the Golf Course

Hughes walked into the pro shop. There was a tired kid behind the counter.

“Do you want to go out?” He asked.

Even on a summer day, the clouds were threatening. The sun was shining through, but there was violence in the heavens.

“Yes—and I need some golf tees.”

“You saved a dollar thirty-five with your discount.”

“Oh—I’ll be rich,” Hughes said.

There was nobody on the course.

Hughes teed it up and struck his ball down the fairway. He liked playing with himself. After the government forced early retirement on him because he knew too much, Hughes enjoyed going back to his teenage years, which meant lots of drinking and lots of golf. He used to be made of hard wood, but now the termites ate him from the inside. He was 51. At 50—he thought he could play golf and drink until he died. He was going to beat the course record inside of a year, but his strokes piled up, like the bodies he had disposed of, in the name of… freedom…or some such damn thing.

Now he was truly free, and he didn’t like it. The inner rot was coming from not being needed, and the prospect of living to 100, was too much for him. He had taken to smoking big cigars. A true addict is a true failure, and Hughes had tried without success for so long that nothing could make him feel good.

On the 13th hole, his drive hit a house. He didn’t think much of it. He just teed it up again and wacked his ball down the fairway, and when he got close to the green, he heard a voice behind him.

“Hey—is this your ball?”

“I don’t know.”

“It hit my house.”

“Oh—”

“Well, there’s nobody else out here, so you can have it.” He gave the ball to Hughes. There was no confrontation.

On the 14th hole, Hughes drove his ball into a residential lawn. A woman, in her early 30s, was doing her gardening in one of those wide-brimmed flower hats. There was nothing to eat in her garden—only flowers.

When she looked at him, she had big white sunglasses covering most of her face, but they didn’t hide her bruises.

“Bad day?” She asked.

“The worst,” Hughes said. “Say—what happened to your face?”

“The dog gave me these. He pulled the leash and I fell.”

She was lying—it was the tone in her voice, that tried to tell the truth too carefully.

A Ferrari pulled into the driveway and a man got out, wearing black sunglasses.

“Lorraine—who are you talking to? I told you to get the grill ready. My friends are coming over.”

He ignored Hughes.

“What’s wrong with your wife’s face?” Hughes asked.

“She’s not my wife—and why don’t you go play with your balls.”

Lorraine went to deal with the grill and Hughes stood there.

“Are you deaf?”

“I have selective hearing.”

“Well—maybe you need to have your ears boxed.”

“I don’t know you, but I know, you hit your girlfriend.”

“So, what—it’s none of your business.”

“I’m making it my business.”

“What are you going to do about it?”

Hughes looked into his black eyes. The man’s suit suggested a corporate VP.

“Pistols,” Hughes said. “Walk onto the fairway.”

“What?”

Hughes pointed a Walter PPK at him.

“You’re crazy!”

“Maybe.”

When they were 20 paces from each other, Hughes threw the man a Smith and Wesson.

“Now, I’m going to kill you and the only way to stop me, is for you to shoot first.”

The guns went off and the grass turned red.

Hughes stared into the stormy sky with a smile on his face.

It was his honor, on the golf course.

The End